IGF 2018 - Day 2 - Salle XI - SEED Alliance Awards Ceremony

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Paris, France, from 12 to 14 November 2018. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 



>> Hi, the SEED Alliance ceremony will start at 1:30.  If you are not part of that, we ask that you clear the room.  If you want to stay for the awards, please stay and join us.  Thank you.

     >> Hi, everybody, waiting for a few more people to join us.  We'll start in five minutes or so.  Thank you.

     >> KEVON SWIFT: Good afternoon.  I would like to thank you for coming out during your lunch hour and coming to the SEED Alliance Award ceremony, we know there are other interesting sessions or interesting topics at this time, but of course, it is important that we recognize the work that is going on in our communities.  I would like to invite you all to probably come a bit closer, because we have that possibility today.  Don't worry.  We're all nice and friendly.  Hopefully no one bites anyone else.  And we'll get this ceremony started. 

To begin, my name is Kevon Smith, I'm with the LACNIC, and I am your master of ceremonies for today's proceedings.  I would like to get started with some words about SEED Alliance, particularly for those new in the room and explain briefly the dynamics upon today's ceremony.  It is a partnership between three grant awards and programs, ISIF Asia, the FRIDA program, and AFRINIC.  These three grants and awards programs seek to promote Internet development in the regions of work and support initiatives that employ Internet based solutions and technologies to positively impact technologies across the Global South.  The work of the SEED Alliance would not be possible without the generous donations and the supporters, the IDRC.  Dot Asia for ISIF and dot Google for FIRE.  We have many from Mexico, Myanmar, Senegal, and Uruguay. 

As for the dynamics, we have Mr. Paul Wilson the director general of APNIC will give opening remarks and talk about the SEED Alliance work to close the gender gap in the technology world. 

We have Mr. Phet Sayo to talk about the SEED Alliance to talk about tackling gender unequal from the industry.  And following his address, we will announce the award winners in the gender empowerment category. 

We have Raul Echeberria that will talk to the collaboration with the SEED Alliance to discuss the growth of networks.  Following his address, we will introduce the award winners in the community network category. 

Last but not least, we have with us Mr. Alan Barrett who will share about the SEED Alliance contribution to the sustainability goals and the commitment of the regional Internet registrations that have the Internet be an enabler for development in our service regions. 

And this year, we have a special treat for all of you here.  We'll be offering a few beverages and refreshments at the end of the ceremony to toast to the 2018 award winners.  So please, we kindly invite you to stay around and enjoy the refreshments that we have and to celebrate with us.  Prior to giving the floor to Mr. Paul Wilson, let me introduce a brief introductory video about the SEED Alliance about the programs, FIRE, FRIDA and ISIF Asia. 


     >> This is to support innovation on Internet development across the Global South.  The partners identified digital innovations and solutions, software tools, devices, research outcomes according to each regional set of criteria and categories.  That makes statistic use in an innovative way.  The SEED Alliance offers opportunities to scale up digital innovations to project teams that support economic growth and social development through funding, capacity building opportunity and strategic networking.  The SEED Alliance was funded in 2012, thanks to the generous support from the international development research center IDRC, the Swedish government and AFRINIC, LACNIC and APNIC, the Internet registrations.  Since it started in 2012, the partners supported 185 practicals from 61 economies with over 5.1 million USD of funding allocated in grants and awards throughout Africa, Asia‑Pacific, Africa and Caribbean and helping promote the society in the regions.  The program partners are committed to helping ideas grow. 



     >> Create, enable, connect.  The three action words signify the pursuit of Internet research and education, the mission of AFRINIC that provide innovative solutions to the information, infrastructure and communication needs.  Over the past four years, FIRE Africa has given out 31 grants, 12 awards from 18 countries.  It has held capacity building workshops in AFRINIC meetings to over 80 entrepreneurs and innovatives.  FIRE Africa takes recipient to international platforms such as IGF and development firms, funding to date is over $1 million.  The FIRE program that started in 2007 as a pilot project to identify and reward innovative solutions to community challenges has finally come to age.  The fund for Internet research and education has matured and now among the prestigious awards and grants programs offering recognition and support to ICT initiatives representing grassroots communities. 

     >> FRIDA, the regional fund for digital innovation for Latin America and Caribbean is a grants and awards program aimed at strengthening initiatives that harness the power of the Internet for the development of the region.  FRIDA is an initiative (?) it is possible because of the generous contribution of IDRC, Internet Society and LACNIC that support the fund across the region.  Since the creation in 2004, FRIDA has supported 128 projects.  1.1 in funding there are regional and specific projects affecting more than 18 economies regionwide.  There are solutions with demonstrated social impact.  In 2018, FRIDA is supporting the development of community networks and equality and gender initiatives. 

     >> The Information Society Innovation Fund, ISIF Asia supports communities in the Asia‑Pacific region to research, design and Internet solutions to achieve the sustainable development goals.  Since 2008, ISIF Asia has had 69 grants allocating 3.4 million Australian dollars to millions of innovative solutions, throughout the Asia‑Pacific region.  There are thousands of applications received from 38 economies.  There are organizations in Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand.  Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu and Vietnam.  This is a program of the APNIC foundation, operating thanks to the generous support of the Asia‑Pacific network center, APNIC and Canadian international research center, the Internet Society and the dot Asia organization.  The ISIF award package includes a travel grant to join us here at the forum in Paris, France. 

     >> The SEED Alliance is a collaborative partnership ‑‑

     >> KEVON SWIFT: It was so nice, I wanted to show it twice.  Please, join me in welcoming Paul to give his remarks.

    >> PAUL WILSON: Thank you, Kevon.  And thanks to you all for spending your lunchtime joining us here today.  So I'm Paul Wilson, head of APNIC, we're one of the three regional address Internet registries that support the alliances you heard, the Alliance of the three separate grants and awards programs that have been running for some time.  They have different histories, the programs, but what they represent is a shared commitment amongst the three organizations, APNIC, LACNIC and AFRINIC as partners working together on what you are hearing about here.  You heard about those three programs in the video, and those programs include both grants for small project and awards, but I wanted to add a few more words about what we're here for, which is to give the awards for 2018 in two categories that were selected this time around.  So these important categories were agreed with and fully supported by IDRC and the Internet Society.  And what they represent is two different gaps that I think we can all see and that we're very much here in Paris to talk about.  And the gaps in the uptake of the Internet, the ability of people to access the Internet and the distribution of the benefits which arise.  So these are firstly, a gap in access, a divide between those who have adequate access to the Internet and those who don't.  On a different dimension, agenda gap.  A divide which I think is very clear between males and females in terms of access to and benefit from the Internet. 

So we have the community network awards, supporting by ourself, which will showcase what we think are interesting alternatives for the unconnected to connect themselves to improve their access to the Internet because community networks really do tend to breakdown the paradigm of ownership of the network itself, empowering their communities to own the devices, the network, the content and the services that they're benefitting from, and to manage those in ways that can be much more fit for purpose.  And much more culturally appropriate.  And that, in turn, generates opportunities and participation in the digital economy, which I think we all believe is critical these days. 

So secondly, the gender empowerment award supported by IDRC.  The idea here is not just to promote a more equitable access but to actually show acknowledgment of and investment in women's leadership in the Internet for development sector is really crucial if we're going to close the gender gap.  The point here is I think ‑‑ I mean, I think we all know, it ‑‑ women are not merely subjects for training and mentoring as users of the Internet.  Women can be, they are critically involved in the design, the deployment of technology and applications and services and in creating the visions as owners and innovators and leaders in the services.  I think that is where the gender empowerment award is coming from. 

So these two categories of awards, they represent the two gaps that we're all really dedicated to recognizing and addressing.  They're shared by the three SEED Alliance partners and shared with the Internet Society and IDRC as well.  I think it is exciting to see the kind of amazing innovations that are happening in these areas that we're going to recognize today in these awards.  Thank you, again.  I'll hand back to Kevon to proceed I think with the first category awards.

     >> KEVON SWIFT: Ha‑ha.  Thanks, Paul.  In just one second, we'll get to those awards.  Just before we do that, I would like to invite Mr. Phet Sayo to give remarks on behalf of IDRC.  We can encourage him. 


    >> PHET SAYO: I think the applause is for Paul.  I have had the opportunity to represent IDRC for a number of these things.  It is a joy.  I have been involved with the small grants for 15 years in different forms, different shapes.  Being a co‑funder of the grants, we're privileged enough to nudge changes to the format, to the themes of the small grants.  I'm excited about the awards we're giving out today.

To give you a better context of what IDRC, the crown organization of the community governance.

That means we receive funding from the taxpayers, that allows us to provide research grants to the Global South, to southern researchers, to solve the issues of social and economic challenges at their local level.  Why do we focus on gender equality.

To echo what my Prime Minister said, in 2017, this is 2018, this is the reason.  I will read you a more formal reason from the feminist international assistance policy of Canada.  Under the global affairs of Canada to which we report to.  And this is straight from the website.  I encourage you to go visit.  Feminist international assistance policy of Canada. 

The last three decades have seen dramatic reductions in global poverty, not everyone benefitted equally.  Hundreds of millions of people especially women and girls are still poor, have unequal access to opportunities and face major risk of violent conflict, climate change, environmental hazards and or economic or political insecurity.  By eliminating barriers to equality and helping create better opportunities wherein girls can be powerful agents of change and improve their own lives and those of their families, communities, countries.  This is a powerful way forward to reduce poverty for everyone. 

Canada is part of the global community, this is why woe invest in international assistance helping eradicate poverty and vulnerability around the world enhances our own safety and prosperity.  The assistance policy recognizes supporting gender equality and that in women and girls is the best way to build a more inclusive and prosperous world.  That sums up the philosophy.  The areas of focus under the feminist assistance policy is the empowerment of women and girls.  Human dignity, growth that supports everyone.  Environment and climate act, inclusive governance and peace and security.  So it is under that context why we nudge the SEED Alliance to focus on gender equality issues.  Not necessarily, but we see the inclusion of women and girls benefits boys and men.

Thank you for coming to this event.  I look forward to meeting you all awardees.  Thank you. 


     >> KEVON SWIFT: Thank you very much, Phet.  I think Paul and Phet provided a reliable frame for the gender empowerment and access question.  Without further ado, let me introduce the videos for the gender empowerment and innovation award winners.  In the meantime, I know the program coordinators will get the award winners ready while we look at the videos. 


     >> The SEED Alliance gender empowerment and innovation awards are supported by IDRC and engender policies.  A variety of approaches mediated by Internet technologies are in progress across the Global South to close the gender gap from education and training opportunities to the provision of employment and leadership development pathways.  Digital technologies offer women and girls the means to imprint from the design of the services and applications all the way to the delivery and use, a vision of the future with equal access and opportunity is the norm.  Organizations that work to further the sustainable development goals agenda, such as SEED Alliance partners understand the importance of achieving greater gender equality across the Internet so all the SDG and SDG5 in particular can be accomplished faster and endure over time.

The gender empowerment and innovation award winners for 2018 are working to scale up digital innovation, focusing on gender equality and fostering women's leadership in the Internet for development sectors. 


     >> (speaking non‑English language).

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     >> My name is Tugga, it means angel.  (?) but I'm a girl and I'm on a different path. 

A tech age girl is using technology as a European leadership and reliability girl.  (?)

Coding, and how to use this in our community.  (?) was an inspiration to me.  She had four special qualities that make a more engaged person and definitely in mind.  In my community project, I designed a program to help use the students and use the work to learn new activities. 

     >> In 2017, I applied to become a master trainer. 

(Speaking non‑English language)

Now, when I'm training, I have this voice inside telling me this is what I am meant to do.  That this is my pet. 

(Background noises)

     >> The SEED Alliance gender empowerment and innovations ‑‑

     >> KEVON SWIFT: Wonderful.  All awards received will be present by our IDRC representative Phet Sayo.  And we'll get to it.  It is the recognition time. 

For FIRE Africa winner for the Internet for Social Inclusion Award is AASTIC, Association d'Appui a la Science et aux Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication.  The trophy will be received by Moustapha Ba.  Please. 


     >> KEVON SWIFT: The ISIF Asia winner for the Gender Empowerment and Innovation Award is the Tech Age Girls Myanmar by the Myanmar Book Aid and Preservation Foundation.  The trophy is received by Thant Thaw Kaung. Dr. Thant. 

     The FRIDA winners for the Technology and Gender Awards are Wikimedia Mexico for Editatona, Closing the Gender Gap in Wikipedia.  And the trophy is received by Carmen Alcazar. 


     >> KEVON SWIFT: And Faculty of Engineering Universidad de la Republica for Promoting ICT Among Teenagers in Uruguay.  The trophy is received by Andrea Delgado. 

So thank you all, and again, congratulations to Moustapha Ba, Thant Thaw Kaung, Carmen Alcazar, and Andrea Delgado. 

Before we go on to the next category, I would like to now invite Mr. Raul Echeberria to give a couple of remarks on behalf of the Internet Society. 

    >> RAUL ECHEBERRIA: Thank you very much, Kevon.  Just a few words.  The Internet Society is very proud to have been a partner of this program for long time.  So before the SEED Alliance sponsoring the individual programs and after SEED Alliance is a partner of the whole program.  One of the reasons is because we have supported so far this program is because always having focused on persons that create an impact on the life of the people.  This for us is a priority that we believe really using the Internet to improve the life of people around the world with Internet opportunities.

One of the things that had been part of our priorities in the last couple ‑‑ well, last few years is the work on community networks.  One of the things that we have learned from the work we do in community networks, or maybe three things we have learned is that first, we ‑‑ we have the abilities to connect the people.  And when we support projects to connect people in the mountains, in the forest, or serve people in not urban places, we have the technologies, the technology solution is always working, but better technologies would be great.  But with the technologies we have, we can connect everybody. 

Second concept we learned is it is not just about bringing it to the villages, towns or places.  It is much more than that.  It is engaging with the community.  And because the people need to want to be connected.  And they need to understand what are the benefits that we can receive from being connected.  This is something that we can achieve only working with the communities. 

The third thing that we have learned is that the regulatory and later frameworks should be the help to the community and not an obstacle.  This is why we find that very good that SEED Alliance has decided to support community networks.  This is a way to really, not only to change the life of some people, but also to showcase those to open, to make the policymakers to open their minds and find other solutions while continuing to support the enabling environments.  So it is important that not only the satisfaction we receive when we see brochures that change the life of the people, but to showcase that in order to create a much bigger impact.  So thank you, SEED Alliance for taking this as one of the priorities.  And we are very happy to have contributed to this.  More wishes to your success. 


     >> KEVON SWIFT: Thank you, Raul.  Raul, you have touched on one of the current threads we have been hearing here at IGF, people first.  Making sure to be people‑centric.  We will have the videos for the SEED Alliance Community Network Awards ‑‑

     >> The SEED Alliance ‑‑

     >> KEVON SWIFT: Yes.  No problem.  I know the project coordinators will have the award winners ready.  Please. 


             >> Supported by the Internet Society and regional Internet registrations, connecting the next billion is one of the most pressing and challenging issues in Internet governance.  An estimated 73% of the world is lacking access to the Internet and all the opportunities to brings.  From access to education to healthcare provision, precise agriculture methods, natural resources management and access to digital marks and many other opportunities. 

Organizations that work to sustain the developmental goals agenda such as SEED Alliance partners understand the achievement of greater access to the SDGs may be accomplished faster and in shorter time.  The Community Network Award winners for 2018 are working to achieve affordable locally owned infrastructure.  Creating low‑cost solutions that use wireless technology, DSM, and or fiber connections. 


     >> (Speaking non‑English language)


     >> The village‑based station project or VBSP is a collaborative research effort that increases the mobile phone access in establishing community cellular networks.  It seeks to implement, evaluate and improve operational frameworks for CCNs that is productive, and sensitive for rural communities in the Philippines.  Our current model highlights the capability of our on‑cloud partners to perform system maintenance and business‑related tasks.  VBSP already has three operational sites since 2017 and aims to establish four more CCNs by the end of the year.  We envision that our work will help create an ecosystem for the thriving of networks in the Philippines and other areas as well.

     >> The SEED Alliance ‑‑

     >> KEVON SWIFT: Wonderful.  Let's recognize our winners!  The FRIDA Community Networks Award winner is Asociacion para el Fortalecimiento Comunitario for Atalaya Sur, Argentina.  The trophy is received by Damian Cejas, the regional bureau director for Latin America and Caribbean at Internet Society.  One more time. 


    >> KEVON SWIFT: The ISIF Asia Community Network Award winner is Aurora Community Cellular Network, University of the Philippines, Diliman, the Philippines.  The trophy is received by Claire Barela. 


     >> KEVON SWIFT: Please one last round of applause for both Damian Cejas and Claire Barela. 

So all good things must come to an end.  Before we do so, please help me in introducing Mr. Alan Barrett to give closing remarks.

    >> ALAN BARRETT: Hi.  We're glad you're here to help us in this SEED Alliance program and congratulate the award winners.  The three registries involved, AFRINIC, APNIC and L.A. Lakers have as the primary responsibility the distribution of the Internet number resources in their regions.  But they also all see that the use of the Internet to support development in their regions is very important.  And because of that they support the three programs, ISIF Asia, FRIDA and FIRE Africa.  And these programs are able then to support projects that are doing worthwhile work in our communities.  The six programs projects that have received awards today, have all been initiatives that tackle things like rural community access, gender inclusion, gender equality and social inclusion, rural access and many others that are supported through grants which are not present here today.  Some of these sustainability development goals which are addressed by the projects supports through the SEED Alliance include health, education, gender equality, innovation, responsible production, peace and justice. 

So I'd like to thank all the award recipients for all your work on the projects and allowing the SEED Alliance to be part of your success stories.  You have all done very well, you are doing important work in the communities that you serve.  And that's very important to the RIRs which are supporting the SEED Alliance.  We wish you more success in your future endeavors. 

I'd like to thank all the members of the selection committee.  We sometimes call them jurors who looked through the applications from very many prospective projects, looking for the awards.  It is not easy to choose the winners from such a large pool of good projects.  So thanks to the selection committees. 

     Then I'd like to thank the program coordinators in the three regions, Sylvia from ISIF Asia and Carolina from FRIDA and Altunda of FIRE Africa.  Thank you all. 


     Finally, we could not do this without our sponsors.  So thank you very much to IDRC and the Internet Society.  And thank you also to the Alliance partners, the three regional Internet registrations, AFRINIC, APNIC and LACNIC contribute toward the SEED Alliance and grants.  And we also have ‑‑ there is one last sponsor and there is Google supports the AFRINIC fire program, where most of the other sponsors support all three of the programs.  Thank you very much. 

     >> KEVON SWIFT: Thank you very much, Alan.  And once again, congratulations (speaking non‑English language) at all of the 2018 SEED Alliance award winners.  We thank you.  We would like to thank the audience for being here and sharing the ceremony with us.  As mentioned, please join us for refreshments that will be available outside room 9. 

Thanks, once again.  See you again next year. 

     >> So the lady with the blue dress is going to escort us up to the corridor where the drinks are.  Unfortunately, on this floor, we couldn't have food.  We have to walk.  I hope the wine and canapes make it worthwhile.  Please come celebrate with us.  Thank you.